2009 marks the 11th year for Brooklyn native Ed Zaloom at the helm of the WPI football program.
WPI's 17th head football coach, Zaloom has several qualities that make him the ideal head football coach. It is said that his coaching style is entertaining, his philosophy stimulating, and his personality magnetic.
Zaloom has put all those qualities together and turned WPI into a football force to be reckoned with. He is coming off arguably his best season, as the Crimson and Gray turned in a 7-3 mark and posted victories over conference foes Union, US Merchant Marine, Rochester and St. Lawrence. The Engineers' seven wins were the most for the program since 1992 and the team finished third in the rugged Liberty League.
Zaloom wasted no time in making his presence felt on Boynton Hill. During his first season in 1999, he led WPI to its first winning season in five campaigns, including a key victory over Union. Within Freedom Football Conference play, as late as the final weekend in October, WPI was one of only two teams with a chance to capture the conference crown.
During the next four years, the Engineers finished just under the .500 mark, but were clearly one of the more competitive teams in New England. In 2001, WPI defeated nationally-ranked (No. 13) Western Connecticut State, 22-15, in one of its biggest wins in school history. A year later, the Engineers proved they were playing their best football at the end of the season by winning their final two contests.
In 2003, WPI finished 4-6 but along the way, Zaloom's squad went 2-1 versus New England Division III Top 10 teams, including a pulsating 49-38 win over Western Connecticut State during which WPI scored 21 points in a span of 2:38 in the game's final three minutes.
With Zaloom at the reins, WPI has made a successful transition to the Liberty League. WPI joined the New York based conference in 2004 and proved to be a solid team right off the bat with wins against Rochester and Coast Guard. The Engineers still enjoyed success in New England with three non-conference wins en route to finishing 5-5.
Zaloom's 2005 squad provided countless highlights as the Crimson and Gray went 6-3 with several exciting victories. The team won their final three road contests, including a victory over Rochester highlighted by a 61-yard touchdown pass in the final minute, en route to an impressive 4-3 mark in the rugged Liberty League. WPI's three losses came to two teams who reached the second round of the NCAA Division III championships and a third who won an ECAC bowl game.
During the 2006 season, sophomore linebacker Matt Boudreau was named Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year while the Engineers were a perfect 3-0 versus New England opponents. In 2007, the Engineers jumped out of the gates quickly, winning their first four contests en route to earning the No. 1 ranking in New England.
Prior to WPI, Zaloom was the first full-time head coach in the history of Siena College, where he inherited a program with a 2-28 record at the Division I-AA level. During his three years (1996-98), he compiled a 12-16 record. That included a 6-3 mark in 1997, which translated into the eighth most significant turnaround in I-AA that season.
Previous to his head coaching stint at Siena, he spent 13 seasons as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at the University at Albany. In 1994 his "freeze option" attack set a single-season record for total yardage. From 1983 to '94, he also served as head baseball coach at Albany, where he led the Great Danes to a 124-117-2 record.
Zaloom was a standout defensive back at Brooklyn Prep before heading to the State University of New York at Cortland where he earned his bachelor's degree in education in 1975. He began his head coaching career as an assistant football coach and head baseball coach at Port Byron (NY) High School. For three years (1976-78), he held that position until he joined the football staff at Albany as a graduate assistant coaching the wide receivers.
After earning his master's degree in educational administration from Albany in 1979, Zaloom was named head football coach at Fulton (NY) High School, where he stayed until moving to Appalachian State in 1982. During his stay at Fulton, Zaloom was named Onondaga Central Coach of the Year.
Zaloom lives in North Grafton with his wife Debra, who works in Human Resources at UMass-Medical.
Coach Zaloom on...
His Coaching Philosophy: "In football, unlike most other sports where skill is the order of the day, I believe that chemistry, heart, commitment and determination can win a ton of games. Unity and trust must become the blocks upon which to build. And through that the team can develop the belief that it can win. I am a firm believer in two things - a coaching staff that demands a most fervent attention to detail, and a football team that understands the importance of commitment and chemistry. Winning is always a can-do thing. It has got to be, however, something your players and coaches crave, thus stimulating the inexhaustible will and dedication necessary to achieve success."
Being at WPI: "I have come to respect WPI as one of the nation's elite institutions of higher learning. WPI's unique approach of a hands-on education is what impresses me the most. A WPI student learns by doing. The first thing any football coach must ascertain before taking a job at a particular school is whether or not that school can attract top-notch high school football talent. After witnessing the love that these student-athletes have for WPI, and after reviewing the school's most impressive placement record and percentage of graduates who secure top-paying, prestigious jobs, I had no doubt that we could attract talented athletes. My main attraction to WPI, simply stated, is that it is a fine school that should appeal to accomplished students from all over the country."
On the Liberty League and WPI's Schedule: "We are very excited to be a part of the Liberty League. I feel the Liberty League is nationally one of the top football conferences. There are no guaranteed wins. As we learned a year ago, any team within the league must be ready to play, no matter the opponent. WPI has always played some of the strongest teams in the Northeast quadrant, and that will not change. As always, we look forward to the challenges ahead and our goal is to participate in NCAA postseason play.